Mission can describe a task to complete, a military campaign, a physical place or something Christians are supposed to be involved in. Most churches talk about mission as social services aimed at alleviating poverty, suffering, etc. This includes work in the local community as well as in other places. Historically, missiology referred to the “theological institution’s ‘department of foreign affairs,’ dealing with the exotic but at the same time peripheral” (Bosch 2007). This is what Jesus told us to do, right? Matthew 28:19 says Jesus told his followers to “go and make disciples of all nations.” But Christ does not call all His followers into foreign missionary service. What then?
Jesus’ ministry centered in and around his home territory. There lived in the area people of all races, nationalities, etc., but much of the work Jesus did happened in his own cultural context, every day. His method included giving loving attention to peoples outcast, downtrodden and in spiritual and/or physical need. As the godhead in human form, Jesus carried out mission as part of his very nature, the mission of God. Missio Dei (God’s mission) is “God’s self-revelation as the One who loves the world, God’s involvement in and with the world, the nature and activity of God, which embraces both the church and the world, and in which the church is privileged to participate. Missio Dei enunciates the good news that God is a God-for-people” (Bosch, 2007)
We no longer need to travel to a different county to minister on foreign soil. With increasing globalization and migration, we often find people from different nationalities and cultures in our schools, workplaces and neighborhoods.The mission field came to us! God’s mission, the Missio Dei, bears “witness to God’s activity in the world by [communicating] the good news of Jesus Christ in word and deed.” (Kirk, 2000). This boldly declares the nearness of the kingdom of God and brings assurance of God’s presence now, along with hope for eternal life. Jesus’ mission gave a glimpse of life in the kingdom which his followers would carry on through the empowerment of the Holy Spirit. “Whoever hears the call from God and responds to it is thereby commissioned: sent on the adventure of a lifetime. This is one of the meanings of mission” (Gittins, 2002). The church as the gathered community of believers not only sends but is being sent into a world that needs to hear and see the love of God; everywhere, every day.